AMITIAE - Friday 20 June 2014
A few Days in Langkawi (1) - Arrivals
By Graham K. Rogers
At Suvarnhabumi Airport, I was early for the check-in, so sat on a bench to wait, going through the paperwork once again. A polite lady at the Cathay Pacific check-in desk had told me the Malaysia Airlines desk would open around 11:45 am, but 30 minutes before that time, a large group arrived and stood waiting, then another smaller group of travellers formed a second line. As the desk opened, there were five lines: Group travel, 2 for Economy class, Business and one marked "Internet".
There were only two people checking in at the internet desk, so I took a chance. When they were done, I asked the clerk, "Does Internet mean e-ticket?" It did, so within a couple of minutes I was done and headed for Immigration.
I needed a re-entry permit and had downloaded the form the day before from the Immigration web-site. After going up one set of stairs to check the bags, throw away the water bottle and be scanned by the polite staff, I went down another set of stairs where the immigration exit desks were located; and the desk for the re-entry visa.
I handed over the document, but after filling in the details on a computer and taking a photograph, the completed form (much tidier than mine) was ready for me to sign and he handed my hand-written one back. I handed over the fee (1200 baht) and within a couple of minutes the passport with the requisite stamp was handed back. The exit process was quite painless and that was completed in a couple of minutes too.
Inside the Departure lounge, I checked the Information desk for Gate details as this was not on the boarding pass. When I had that, I asked about Internet and was given a slip of paper with a login name and password: 1 hour access. As I was still using the 3G on the iPhone, the hour turned out to be quite enough.
I managed to lose my way in Kuala Lumpur airport as I did not need to exit: I was transferring to another plane. At the immigration area, I knew I had gone wrong, so when I saw an official checking on lines, I asked him. He patiently explained where I should go and walked me towards the area, pointing out the stairs I had to use.
I arrived at another Immigration desk where the friendly Immigration officer stamped my passport; then passed through a security check. The officer there was quite friendly and we talked about where I was going while he sent my belongings through the X-ray machine. A buzzer went off as I went through the gate and an officer did a closer scan: probably the shoes, he suggested.
The connecting flight was not for a couple of hours, so I found my way to the gate and sat. Near flight time a young man sat nearby and his iPhone 5 was connected to a MacBook Pro that was in his back-pack. He also used the Mac and connected to the internet. I had already used that with the iPhone and the free connection, with no login fuss, was for three hours. I later switched to the Mac and had another three hours allowed for that. Easier than Bangkok.
I tried the Internet in the room, only to find that the WiFIFree@Langkawi now needed a WAP2 password. In the list of other networks were a series of hotel room numbers. I tried one and was connected. There was a ZyXel modem sitting next to me on the desk, so I thought I would try. I connected the plug, turned it on and the lights flashed, with the "Internet" light changing from red to green. In the list shown on the Mac, my room number also appeared. I clicked on this and the Mac was online.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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